New Rule Expands the Scope of Reimbursable Expenses for Living Organ Donation

Monday, September 21, 2020

In support of President Trump’s Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has finalized a new rule to expand the scope of qualified reimbursable expenses incurred by living organ donors to include lost wages, child-care and elder-care expenses. The new rule amends regulations of the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984, as amended.

"Over the past year, the Trump Administration has taken more action to advance American kidney health than we've seen in decades," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "By finalizing this new rule, we’re dramatically expanding support for living organ donors—like the generous donor who saved my father's life—to save more lives and ensure Americans who wish to donate don't face unnecessary financial barriers to doing so."

This rule aligns with the President’s Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health, and emphasizes how supporting living organ donors can help address the current demand for kidney transplants by further reducing financial disincentives to living organ donor transplantation. Living organ donation is an important option for thousands of men, women, and children on the national transplant waiting list. Transplants using organs from living organ donors accounted for 19 percent (or 7,397) of the total (39,719) transplants performed in 2019

"Living organ donation offers a viable transplant option for kidney transplant candidates. Providing living organ donors additional resources and support is one aspect of a multi-pronged approach to improving the transplantation system overall," said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. "HRSA believes these resources will increase the number of organs available for transplant which is key to meeting our commitment of reducing the number of individuals on the organ transplant waiting list."

Previously, HRSA's reimbursement program, administered by cooperative agreement through the National Living Donor Assistance Center, only allowed for reimbursement of travel, lodging, meals, and incidental expenses incurred in relation to living organ donation. HHS believes that the expansion of reimbursable categories will reduce financial barriers and allow more potential living organ donors to proceed with donation. People who wish to be living donors can see if they are eligible for these new reimbursable expenses by applying through their local transplant center.

Press release from HRSA